1. The battle of
2. Lo, these fond sots, &c.]—fond, i.e. foolish. This passage resembles a rhyme made in reproach of the Scots in the reign of Edward the First:
"These scaterand Scots
Hold we for sots," &c.
Fabyan's Chron. vol. ii. fol. 140. ed. 1559.
3. closed in lead] The body of James, disfigured with wounds, was found the day after the battle; it was carried to Berwick, and ultimately interred in the priory of Shene: see Weever's Anc. Fun. Mon., p. 394. ed. 1631. After the dissolution of that house, according to
4. To face, to brace] So Borde in his Book of Knowledge introduces a Scotchman saying,
"I will boost my self, I will crake and face."
Sig. G 2. reprint.
Compare our author's Magnificence;
By the mass, I warrant thee, I will not be braced."
"Some facers, some bracers, some make great cracks."
In Hormanni Vulgaria we find, "He faceth the matter, and maketh great crakes. Tragice loquitur, et ampullosa verba proiicit." Sig. P. iiii. ed. 1530. "He is not afeared to face or brace with any man of worship. Nullius viri magnitudinem allatrare dubitat." Sig. O ii. And in Palsgrave, p. 542, "I face, as one doth that brawleth or falleth out with another to make him afraid, Je contrefays des mines . . . I dare not pass by his door, he faceth and braceth me so: . . il contrefayt tellement des mines." 'I Brace or face, Je braggue. He braced and made a bracing here afore the door as though he would have killed . . . Il braggoyt," &c. p. 462.
5. Our king of
6. king Kopping] Compare the Coliphizacio, where Caiaphas exclaims–
"Therefore I shall thee name that ever shall rue thee,
King Copyn in our game," &c.
Towneley Mysteries, p. 194,
the Glossary informing us that "A coppin is a certain quantity of worsted yarn wound on a spindle, and the spindle then extracted,"—which may be true, though it does not explain the passage. Some game must be alluded to.
7. Hob Lobbyn of Lowdean] So again our author in Speak, Parrot;
"Hob Lobyn of Lowdean would have a bit of bread."
Perhaps there is an allusion to some song or ballad: Lowdean is, I apprehend, Lothian.
8. what good ye can] i.e. what manners you know.]
9. Locrian] i.e Loch Ryan a large bay in Wigtonshire, which, by approximating to the
"And at Lochrian in
He shipped, with all his men."
The Bruce, B. xi. v. 36. ed.
In the poem The Doughty Duke of Albany Skelton speaks of the Scots
And the ragged ray
and in his verses against
11. the ix] Eds. "xi".
12. Irish caterans] Irish, i.e. Highlanders and Islesmen:
"Than girt he all the Irishry
That were in till his company,
Of Argyll, and the Isles also," &c.
Barbour's Bruce, B. xiii. v. 233. ed.
Caterans (see Jamieson's Et. Dict. of Scot. Lang. in v. Cateranes) i.e. marauders who carried off cattle, corn, &c.
13. Jocky my jo] Perhaps a fragment of some song or ballad. In Scotch, Jocky is the diminutive of Jock, the abbreviation of John: jo is sweetheart, dear, (joy).
14. pie] i.e. magpie
15. Sir Skyrgaliard] So again our author in his Speak, Parrot;
"With Skyrgaliard, proud palliard, vauntparler, ye prate."
and in his poem The Doughty Duke of
"Such a skyrgaliard."
"William Johnstone of Wamphray, called the Gaillard, was a noted freebooter . . . His nom de guerre seems to have been derived from the dance called The Galliard. The word is still used in
16. brother] James married Margaret sister of Henry the Eighth.
17. Though ye untruly your father have slain] James iii. was slain by a ruffian whose name is not certainly known, under circumstances of great atrocity, in 1488, in a miller's cottage, immediately after his flight from the battle of Sauchieburn, where his son (then in his 17th year) had appeared in arms against him. The mind of James iv. was haunted by remorse for his father's death; and he wore in penance an iron girdle, the weight of which he every year increased.
18. Dundee, Dunbar] Scottish names used at random: so again in our author's Verses Against
19. the castle of Norham] In taking the Castle of Norham, James wasted some days, previous to the battle of Flodden, while he ought to have employed his forces in more important enterprises.
20. Against you gave so sharp a shower] Shower is often applied by our old writers to the storm, assault, encounter of battle:
"The sharp showers and the cruel rage
Abide fully of this mortal war."
Lydgate's Wars of
"He was slawe in sharp shower."
Kyng Robert of
and see our author's poem The Doughty Duke of Albany v. 240.
21. The White
He raged and rent out your heart blood;
He the White, and ye the Red] The White Lion was the badge of the Earl of Surrey, derived from his ancestors the Mowbrays. His arms were Gules, on a bend between six cross croslets, fitchy, argent: after the battle of Flodden, the king granted to him "an honourable augmentation of his arms, to bear on the bend thereof: in an escutcheon Or, a demi Lion rampant, pierced through the mouth with an arrow, within a double tressure flory and counter fory Gules; which tressure is the same as surrounds the royal arms of Scotland." Collins's Peerage, i. 77. ed. Brydges.
"If Scotland's Coat no mark of Fame can lend,
That Lion plac'd in our bright silver-bend,
Which as a Trophy beautifies our shield,
Since Scottish blood discoloured Floden-Field;
When the proud Cheviot our brave Ensign bare,
As a rich Jewel in a Lady's hair,
And did fair Bramston's neighbouring values choke
With clouds of Canons fire-disgorged smoke."
Epistle from H. Howard Earl of
"George Buchanan reporteth that the Earl of Surrey gave for his badge a Silver Lion, which from Antiquity belonged to that name, tearing in pieces a Lion prostrate Gules; and withal, that this which he terms insolence, was punished in Him and his Posterity," &c. Drayton's note on the preceding passage.
the Red - The royal arms of
22. sweet Saint George, our Lady's knight] "Our Lady's knight" is the common designation of St. George: so in a song written about the same time the present poem, Cott. MS. Domit. A. xviii. fol. 248; in Sir Bevis of Hamtoun, p. 102. Maitl. ed. &c. &c.
23. His grace being out of the way] i.e. Henry the Eighth being in
24. ye lost your sword] The sword and dagger, worn by James at the battle of Flodden, are preserved in the
25. Huntley Banks] So again in our author's Verses against
"That prates and pranks
On Huntley banks."
and in his Why come ye not to Court;
"They [the Scots] play their old pranks
After Huntley Banks."
and in his poem The Doughty Duke of
"Of the Scots rank
Of Huntley Bank."
Here again Skelton uses a Scottish name at random. The Huntleybank, where, according to the charming old poem, Thomas the Rhymer met the Queen of Faery, is situated on one of the Eldoun hills.
26. Of the king of Naverne ye might take heed,
Ungraciously how he doth speed:
In double dealing so he did dream
That he is king without a ream;
And, for example ye would none take.]—Naverne i.e
27. Your beard so brim] James wore "his Beard something long." Leland; Collect. iv. 285. ed. 1770.
28. Your Seven Sisters, that gun so gay] Lindsay of Pitscottie informs us that when James was making preparations for his fatal expedition against England, "he had seven great cannons out of the castle of Edinburgh, quhilkis was called the Seven Sisters, cast by Robert Borthik; and three master gunners, furnished with powder and lead to them at their pleasure."' Cron. of Scotl. i. 266. ed. 1814. These cannons were named Sisters because they were all of the same great size and fine fabric. Concerning Borthwick, master of the artillery to James, the following mention is made by Lesley: "Rex amplo stipendio Robertum Borthuik, insignem tormenti fabricandi artificem donavit, ut tormenta bellica maiora in arce Edinburgensi aliquamdiu conflaret: quorum per multa hodie in
"Machina sum. Scoto Borthuik fabricata Roberto." ("Robert Borthwick, well paid by the king, who gave him a commission to make cannon, so that with this great cannon he should demolish the
29. The Pope's curse done you that clap]—clap, i.e. stroke. James died under a recent sentence of excommunication for infringing the pacification with
30. Of the out isles the rough footed Scots] i.e. the rough-footed Scots of the Hebrides: the epithet rough footed was given to them, because they wore, during the frost, a rude sort of shoe, made of undressed deer-skin, with the hairy side outwards; see MS. quoted in Pinkerton's Hist. of Scotland, ii. 397.
31. drunken dranes]—dranes, i.e. drones. The Editor of Skelton's Works, 1736, printed "dronken Danes;" and Weber (Flodden Field, p. 276) proposes the same alteration; but though the Danes (as the readers of our early dramatists know) were notorious for deep potations, the text is right. Our author has again, in his poem The Doughty Duke of Albany;
"We set not a prane (prawn)
By such a drunken drane."
"Drane. Fucus." Prompt. Parv. ed. 1499. And compare Pierce Plowman's Creed;
"And right as dranes doth nought but drinketh up the honey."
Sig. D i. ed. 1561.
32. fitting] Other eds. "sitting", which, perhaps, Skelton wrote, as he elsewhere uses the word.
33. Scotia, reducta in formam provinciae,
Regis parebit nutibus Angliae;] "
34. Alioquin, per desertum Sin, super cherubim,
Cherubim, seraphim, seraphimque, ergo, &c] "Otherwise, through the